Venom (1981) - UK - Horror Thriller - Rated R
Directed by Piers Haggard
Starring Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Nicol Williamson, Sarah Miles, Sterling Hayden, Susan George, Cornelia Sharpe, Lance Holcomb, Michael Gough
A suspense thriller pitting the police against a hostage for ransom situation spiced up by a deadly Black Mamba on the loose provides an entertaining and tense movie.
An international criminal and his conspirators attempt to take hostage the son of a wealthy woman in exchange for a ransom. The son has had a snake delivered, but it is discovered by a lab that the one delivered to him is a deadly Black Mamba. Tension mounts between the kidnappers even before the discovery of the mistake about the snake as one of them panics and kills a policeman setting in motion a police hostage response while the deadly snake gets loose in the home. Time is not on anybody's side.
Featuring a cast of actors whose reputations precede them in being difficult to work with, it is understandable that the director of this movie had said of his experience [paraphrased] that the snake used on set was the friendliest member of the cast. This is not necessarily a negative, aside from those who had to work with them, as there is an underlying air of tension in the movie that goes beyond the story. In a story where tension mounts, having an additional amount among the actors doesn't hurt and Kinski and Reed have an antagonistic relationship in front of the camera that makes one believe the stories of their feuding behind the scenes.
Although categorized as a horror movie, since it is advertised that way, Venom is actually a tense thriller infused with an element of scares provided by the presence of the snake. It is tense as inside the home is a deteriorating hostage situation not helped by the deteriorating relationship between the kidnappers, heightened by the presence of the police barricade and hostage negotiation that has been setup, and multiplied by the addition of a deadly Black Mamba in the household.
This is not a movie for the squeamish or those who are unsettled easily. Both due to the presence of the snake, for those who are afraid of snakes, and the already mentioned tension of the story and general atmosphere of the movie. If that doesn't bother you then you will likely be in for an entertaining time, especially if you are watching it among a friends who are screamers...that is always fun. ;)
My Rating: 4 Fingers